I’ll try any diet or fitness regime once.
So when I heard about Sakara Life — something Victoria’s Secret models do — I had to try it to see what it was.
Sakara Life is an all-natural meal delivery service that’s completely vegan and plant-based. The idea, founders Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise told Business Insider, is to feed your body with good, real, unprocessed food — it’s not a juice cleanse
“The Victoria’s Secret Angels love our program because it’s something they can do and still have energy. You look at their Instagrams and they’re working out like crazy — they’re like athletes,” Tingle said. “If you’ve ever done a juice cleanse, you know that you’re low on energy, and so they know when they come to us that they’re getting a really vast array of nutrients and plant protein to fuel their body and feel good and still get the results that they’re looking for.”
DuBoise said the girls do Sakara Life meal plans before the big show, as well as all year round.
So in honour of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show airing, I decided to try it.
I woke up and saw that I had an email from my apartment building's front desk -- I had a delivery at around 5:30 in the morning. It was my food for the day.
Talk about convenience -- Sakara Life delivers food to your door. The black bag was supposed to arrive between 6 AM and 9 AM, so it was early. The menu is planned out by the company's team, but the program lets you choose allergens (that could be foods you don't like or don't respond well to or actually be allergic to) and the company will make concessions for you.
I realised that I just had one day ahead of me, so I didn't expect any major or drastic changes.
A single day of packaged food is $109 ($99 plus $10 for shipping) -- more than I spend on a week's worth of groceries -- and it comes with breakfast, lunch, dinner, a 'morning water,' a 'night water,' and a detox tea (which was missing from my black bag).
As a comparison, salad at Juice Press is about $12. But, Tingle and DuBoise told Business Insider that Sakara Life has extremely fresh produce.
First up -- the 'morning water.' It contains rose, silica, and trace minerals. According to the bottle, it's 'designed to rehydrate and replenish your system.' But how good can water be?
It's surprisingly good. I can taste the rose -- and I know many models, like Victoria's Secret Angel Jasmine Tookes, praise the wonders of rose water -- but I'm a simple girl. I'll take filtered tap water.
It came with cashew cream (perfect for someone lactose-intolerant) with some veggies in the mix for extra nutrients. I wanted to like this so much. I do not eat gluten or dairy and I eat pretty healthily, so I'm used to eating food that the average person might consider gross. I've tried a bunch of different flour substitutes, and I eat vegan cheese, which grosses everyone out.
The cashew vegetable cream was fine by my standards -- I'd eat it again -- but the eating the bagel was like eating a rock made out of seeds. I wanted to like it, but I couldn't even cut it open to put the cashew cream on it. At least it was filling.
Apparently, Tingle and DuBoise told me the bagel tastes better toasted -- so I might have messed up here.
For lunch, I had a samosa wrap on greens with kale and chutney dressing. It featured turmeric, a superfood.
The dressing was surprisingly good. The actual meal was pleasant -- it was filled with veggies and cashews and topped with coconut (I opted to swap out chickpeas). The spices were potent. It took a while to chew, and I could enjoy the flavours and be more thoughtful about eating, rather than just scarfing something down. It was filling and took a long time to eat, which reinforced how this is the antithesis of a juice cleanse. I'd eat this again -- it was a satisfying lunch. But was it worth $30? No.
My vice is mindless snacking -- so I was interested in trying some of Sakara Life's snacks to see if they curbed my cravings.
These snacks aren't ub the original meal plan, though -- and I was concerned I was 'breaking the diet' because I wasn't just eating the three prepared meals and the fancy waters. Tingle and DuBoise assured me that this diet is about creating a lifestyle with balance -- and that even red wine is ok to have in moderation (which is great news!). Additionally, they encouraged me to not think about calories -- but nutrition instead.
But not all healthy snacks are created equally. The root vegetable chips, while flavorful and healthy-tasting, took way too long to chew for my taste -- but this might be part of Sakara Life's plan. My jaw was so exhausted that I didn't want to eat anymore. I had a few and then threw the rest away.
It's $24 for 4 of them. What could make water cost that much other than a unicorn's tears? I asked DuBoise and Tingle exactly why this water is so special. Apparently, it has trace minerals, rose oil, and silica, which 'makes your water wetter so your cells actually uptake more water,' as DuBoise informed me, something I'm still trying to comprehend. Rose oil, she said, helps people de-stress.
I had the vanilla matcha ginseng flavour -- and it was really good. It was better than a Lara bar in my opinion. It was my favourite thing I had all day. I was glad that program didn't completely prohibit snacking.
I had requested to forego grains, so the soba noodle bowl didn't include soba noodles -- and soba is apparently the superfood ingredient. I like vegetables a lot, so this wasn't a problem, but it was a pretty much just greens with zucchini, shiitake mushrooms, some seeds, and dressing. (I concede -- the dressing was very rich and actually fantastic.) Fortunately, I was pretty full from the protein bar a few hours earlier.
The packaging told me that the 'shiitake mushrooms keep you focused and connected to the moment, while fiery sriracha ignites your wildest day dreams.' My wildest day dreams were about rationalizing eating a $30 bowl of lettuce.
This green concoction — which is part of the meal plan but costs $16 for 4 on their own — tasted surprisingly OK. It contained chlorella and trace minerals. I'm pretty sure I would have to drink this healthy elixir every day for a month to see if my skin would start glowing.
The food was hit or miss -- but I'm sure that some of the other Sakara meal plans are better -- the company constantly changes it up.
'Your taste buds -- they do start to change when you start getting used to whole natural foods,' Tingle said. I guess I only thought I ate healthy -- perhaps my taste buds are used to processed garbage.
The food was also extremely chewy. I wondered if this was to drive the point home that this was not a juice cleanse.
I can say that it's definitely better -- and more certainly more filling -- than a doing juice cleanse.
I realise the program is called 'Sakara Life' not 'Sakara Day' -- so I recognise that to get the full benefits, you'd have to really commit.
I'm sure that I wouldn't see the effects unless I went full throttle and ate the Sakara way for a full week or a month (the program does not feature meals on the weekend; you can splurge then). But until I can justify spending $109 a day on hit-or-miss food, I won't know for sure.
'This program is really designed to be a sustainable lifestyle that fits into your life,' Tingle said. I'm not sure that I would want to go fully vegan; fish and chicken are certainly parts of a balanced, nutritious, healthy, clean lifestyle.
And 'my life' isn't one that can afford this sort of program. (For what it's worth, Tingle and DuBoise informed Business Insider that Sakara Life offers other options besides its signature meal plans -- like a lunch box program for $130 a week, a 'Clean Boutique' with snacks, and a cookbook with recipes to make yourself.)
That said, the convenience is unparalleled. If I was a famous person on the go (or a rich and lazy person), with unlimited funds, I would maybe think differently about the program.
But, there is one glaring problem with Sakara Life that is impossible to ignore: it perpetuates the notion that eating clean, whole, nourishing foods is only for the rich.
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